“The New Starbucks” Plugs the Lid

New_Starbucks_Lid.jpg

It has finally happened. “The New Starbucks” has come up with a solution to the much-despised (especially by myself) “sippy cup lid.” I can now confirm the availability of of a green plug with a rod that fits somewhat securely on the lid’s opening.

Much in the fashion of Apple’s Mighty Mouse, where the computer manufacturer came up with a two-button mouse that still technically is a one-button mouse, Starbucks obviously hasn’t wanted to admit its lid’s major shortcoming.

From my limited research, limited to one Starbucks location in Manhattan, the plug/rod device is only available upon special request. Upon my proclamation that this invention was long overdue and would have saved me several burns and cleanups had it come out earlier, one barista informed the other that “it’s true, you can find complaints about these lids all over the internet.”

Maybe this “New Starbucks” idea isn’t so bad. They might have killed the breakfast sandwich, but this new lid and the new Pike Place Roast, which doesn’t charcoal your mouth nearly as much, do represent significant improvements.

No More Starbucks Breakfast Sandwiches

I can’t believe this story is already over a month old (time flies), but it’s still annoying me. I know that my recent posts probably make you thing I wander the streets with a crossed-out mermaid t-shirt, but come on…

Maybe this is Starbucks punishing me for increasingly defecting to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee. In that category, Dunkin’ has caught up. However, their breakfast sandwiches are nothing to write home about and overly laden with cheese. This observation might be skewed by the fact that my sandwich of choice at Starbucks was the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich (with reduced-fat cheese).

Anyway, the removal of these sandwiches, to me, is one of those fanciful “we identified the problem” fixes. Apparently this decision will “restore” the smell of coffee at Starbucks. I’ve been to over 30 Starbucks in New York City, and not one smelled like a elementary school cafeteria during lunchtime. This decision will do nothing for Starbucks.

Of course, this move is coupled with ones that may actually make a difference: $1 coffees and free refills. Then again, wouldn’t this just destroy the so-called “Starbucks experience” just like the breakfast sandwiches supposedly did?

My guess is that Dunkin’ Donuts will continue to eat away at Starbucks. They already are in New York City. And, as we all know, they have a much better lid!

Lost in Translation Series: The Actual Information

Actual Information.jpgSpotted on a board at the Wien-Speising station of the Vienna S-Bahn that informs riders of service changes.

The text reads:

Dear Passengers,
Planning your travel please consider the actual information.

The actual is probably the result of a bad attempt by the ÖBB (which runs the S-Bahn) to translate aktuell, which means current. However, interestingly, the German version of the message doesn’t use that word.

I am happy to report, however, that, unlike last year, I didn’t see any signs by the Wiener Linien wishing everyone a “Happy New Jear” this New Year’s.

A New Starbucks Lid At Last?

New_Starbucks_Lid.jpg

I received this lid from a Starbucks last week. My first thought was that Starbucks had finally listened to my demands and had discontinued the permanently-open “sippy cup” lid in favor of this lid. I soon came to the realization, however, that this was simply a backup lid, probably purchased from a local drug store when supplies ran low.

The wait continues…

It’s That Time of Year Again

How is it already Mid-December again? In any case, I’m four days away from flying out to Vienna, and could not be looking forward to it more.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up the last piece of paper I need to be able to enjoy Vienna fully, the International Driving Permit. Apparently Austria is one of only a few countries in Europe to require this pamphlet, which simply translates credentials in a dozen or so languages. As with Time Warner Cable, there is only one AAA in all of Brooklyn, at the opposite corner from me, in Flatlands.

Last Thursday I also picked up a new Austrian passport. If I hadn’t, I would have been stuck in Austria, as the old one expired mid-vacation.

I fly out Thursday night after work, utilizing Emirates to Hamburg and then continuing on to Vienna with Air Berlin. Rather exotic, but the price was right.

Kindergartners Taught About Nutrition by Domino’s

Kindergartners toss pizzas, learn about food pyramid

This “article” is ridiculous. Teaching kids about the food pyramid with pizza!? As one reader noted, a slice of Domino’s pizza has at least 250 calories, and processed tomato sauce is hardly a serving of vegetables. This just shows what’s wrong with our society today… We’re teaching kids about nutrition with corporate-sponsored fatty pizza! The most ridiculous quote:

“The students learned about good nutrition and the food pyramid because pizza has many of the food groups that are included.”

“Tarter Sauce Taste Adjustment” and The End of the “Big Mäc”

Big_Mac.jpgThis is kind of old news, but nonetheless amusing:

McDonald’s Germany decided that, after 36 years, Germans probably had figured out how to pronounce the chain’s signature sandwich, and that spelling it phonetically in German would no longer be necessary. OK, well, officially it has to with “global unified branding”—The “FishMäc” has also become the globally-known Fillet-o-Fish.

Granted the above is probably not worth more than a shug. We’re talking about Germany after all, the country that has invented more English words than hip hop.

More amusing about the Welt article that brought this post all about is a paragraph about the contents of the Fillet-o-Fish in Germany. Here’s my translation, and trust me, it’s better than Babel Fish‘s:

The rumor, that the [Fillet-o-Fish] consists of everything but fish, won’t be laid to rest. In reality, three different kinds of fish are used in Germany: Atlantic cod, Alaskan sea salmon, Merlucciidae. The [choice of fish] is seasonally dependent. [PR Person Eva Maria Haas]: However, it is important for us that there is no noticeable taste difference.” The balancing of the taste is enabled through an extra “spritzer” of tarter sauce.

Of course, the Fillet-o-Fish’s taste is further balanced by the use of breading and a deep fryer.

Voice Updates to Facebook


Privately held SpinVox, which has developed technology to convert voicemail to text messages or e-mail, on Thursday will announce a new service that allows users of Facebook, Jaiku and Twitter social networks to dictate updates to their profiles by calling a specially assigned number.

Read the full New York Times article

This could win “Most Useless Invention of 2007.” This reminds me of when Google had voice search in their Google Labs. You would call a 1-800 number, state your query, and then your results would pop up on your screen.

Especially in this day in age of the iPhone and the Blackberry–Unless you’re a member of all of the services above, and want to update all your statuses simultaneously, this service doesn’t look like a time saver.

More L-Train Service


[S]tarting in December, more frequent service will roll across the line, which traverses several explosively growing, “hot” neighborhoods in Northwest Brooklyn. During the weekday morning rush hour, L trains will run approximately 3.5 minutes apart, instead of every 4 minutes. Manhattan-bound train trips will increase from 15 train trips to 17 train trips.

Read the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Article

Finally some relief. Two trains doesn’t sound like much, but each train officially holds around 2,440 people, so, especially with squeezing, that’s almost 5,000 more spots!

Tighter Squeeze Thanks to Cab Driver Strike

Packed_L-Train.jpgWhenever I take the L-Train in the morning, I expect claustrophobic conditions such as those in the picture to the right. However, whenever the cab drivers strike, the packing extends to the last part of “Option A” for my commute, the E-Train.

Drivers were protesting plans put in motion by Mayor Michael Bloomberg under which all drivers must equip their cars with global satellite positioning systems and machines to take credit cards, partially at their own cost.

The satellite system includes a monitor for passengers to follow their route, check news and weather, view advertisements, and pay their fare by bank card.
&ndashNew York taxi drivers ‘regroup’ after lackluster strike

New_York_Taxi_GPS.jpgThere are many things I don’t understand about the changes that are being required that have the cab drivers in an uproar:

  1. Why GPS for the passenger but not for the driver? How come I still have to inform the driver of every single turn once we enter the fine borough of Brooklyn? Besides, the system is so lagged that one night the driver found the correct turn before I did as a result of the fact that I was navigating by the screen, which was five blocks behind.
  2. Probably half of the cabs I’ve ridden in since I moved here in March already had some kind of cheap-looking credit card reader on the back of the separation glass. Were those fee-free for the driver?
  3. The union(s) are claiming that the changes are also disadvantageous to the passenger. I don’t see that at all. I have ridden in the newly retrofitted cabs on several occasions already, and while hearing Jim Cramer scream at me about the stock market was a little annoying at three in the morning, I do remember there being an “off” button, which contradicts what I heard in an interview with a cab driver yesterday. And the credit card thing? That’ll make me more likely to actually take a cab, which should offset any fractional losses. Come on, it’s 2007… I pay for $2 coffees with a card. Why shouldn’t I be able to do so for a $20 cab ride?

As for this soon-approaching morning? I am seriously contemplating “Option B” again: “G to the C.”

Photo Credit:

  1. Getty Images via “Too Many Hipsters Bring Down L Train Grades” – New York Magazine
  2. NY Taxis want no GPS” – NaviGadget